Archive for the ‘Nigeria’s World Cup’ Category

Tunde Folawiyo | Rashidi Yekini and the Nigerian National Football Team

Friday, April 25th, 2014

With a rich team history dating back to 1949, the Nigeria National Football Team, – nicknamed the Super Eagles have accomplished many fetes of distinction, solidifying their place as one of Africa’s most popular teams. As 3-time Africa Cup of Nations champions, the Super Eagles continue to inspire millions of fans such as Tunde Folawiyo and countless others throughout the world. Among their many revered accomplishments, the Super Eagles once ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings in 1994 – the highest ranking in history for an African football team. Whilst the love of their fans and their passion for the game drove the Super Eagles to success on the field, the talents of famed players such as Rawshidi Yekini will never be forgotten.

Born 23 October 1963, in Kaduna, Rashidi Yekini moved to Côte d’Ivoire to play for Africa Sports National after beginning his career in the Nigerian league. He experienced his most memorable years while playing for Portugal and Victoria de Setubal, eventually becoming the first division’s top scorer with 21 goTunde Folawiyoals. His career best, 34 goals in 32 games, earned him the title of African Footballer of the Year in 1993, the nation’s first ever. Whilst he played for a variety of teams during his career, his contributions to the Super Eagles are immeasurable. He was part of the team that participated in the 1994 World Cup, winning 3-0 against Bulgaria, as well as a participant in the 1998 FIFA World Cups and the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

As a Nigerian international, Yekini represented the nation in five major tournaments. His record breaking 37 goals in only 70 appearances is a record for the Super Eagles that still stands today. After years of transfers, he returned to the Nigerian championship with Julius Berger FC in 2003 at age of 39 and two years later, made a short comeback with Gateway United FC. Years after his retirement, Yekini fell ill and ultimately passed away in Ibadan on 4 May 2012. He was 48 years old. Whilst his life was cut short, the memories of his outstanding talent live on. As one of Nigeria’s most revered football players, Yekini’s story will continue to inspire football fans and sports fans alike. Armed with the everlasting support of Super Eagles fans like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout the continent and beyond, the team will continue to showcase their immense talent to the masses, striving for greatness on the field and off.

Tunde Folawiyo | History of the Nigerian Football Federation

Friday, April 18th, 2014

With a rich team history spanning over 70 years, Nigeria’s football team holds a vibrant, loyal fan base of millions, including Nigerian Tunde Folawiyo. Controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation, the Nigerian national football team (NFF) – nicknamed the Super Eagles – has won many distinctions in their history as a franchise. The Super Eagles won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, a title they’ve won 3 times in their history, demonstrating the team’s immense talent on the field.

Tunde FolawiyoIn order to gain a better understanding of the Super Eagles, it’s important to understand the history of the Nigeria Football Federation. Football was first introduced in Nigeria by a group of British colonists in 1914. Baron Mulford, a Briton, began organising weekly football matches between the youths of his country and those of Nigeria in an area now known as Lagos. Nearly three decades later, Dr. Nnammdi Azikiwe – who later became one of the founding fathers of independent Nigeria and the first President of the Republic – suggested a governing body to regulate football in Nigeria. An active sportsman and noted sports enthusiast, Azikiwe’s idea came to fruition in 1945 with the help of many others including Mr. R. G. Marshal, Chief Etun Bassey, Dr. Isaac Ladipo, Baron Mulford and Mr. D. H. Holley.

Founded in 1949, Nigeria’s first official football team travelled to the UK to compete in a series of friendly matches. Though these were played barefoot, Nigeria commanded attention with their play, drawing in record attendance at some matches. The team’s first international match took place on October 8 of that year. In 1959, the NFA became affiliated to CAF and one year later, to world body FIFA. The country was invited to play in a qualifying series for the FIFA World Cup finals a short time later. After flag independence in 1960, Nigeria football’s governing body was transferred to the Nigerians where Mr. Godrey Amachree became the NFA’s first Nigerian chairman.

On April 24, 1959, the NFA became affiliated to the continental body CAF, and the following year, to the world body, FIFA. Three months later, the country was invited for the first time, to participate in the qualifying series for the FIFA World Cup finals. This was for the 1962 finals staged in Chile. After flag independence in 1960, the administration of Nigeria football fell on the shoulders of Nigerians, with Mr. Godfrey Amachree becoming the first Nigerian Chairman of the NFA. With the rich history of the Nigerian Football Federation at the forefront of its success, the Super Eagles will continue to reply on player talent and a devoted fan base including Tunde Folawiyo in order to accomplish further triumphs on the field.

Developments in Eagles’ World Cup preparations | Tunde Folawiyo

Monday, April 14th, 2014

With just a couple of months left until the World Cup begins, the excitement surrounding Nigeria’s participation in this tournament is palpable. However, there are some concerns which supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo probably want addressed.

For instance, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the sports chairman and minster for the National Sports Commission, was removed from his post last week, after having served in this position for just under three years. The reasons for his dismissal are unclear, and members of the press have asked whether this person’s removal from the organisation, so close to the World Cup, will cause problems for the team.

But Oyuki Obaseki, the former chairman of the NPL (Nigeria Premier League) has assured questioners that there is no reason to be alarmed by the sudden departure of Abdullahi, and that in fact, it is a ‘welcome development’, which would not have any impact on the Eagles’ preparations for the upcoming tournament.

Aminu Maigari, the NFF chairman did not mention Abdullahi in his recent statement to the press; he did however, address the worry that the squad chosen by Keshi for the World Cup would be too inexperienced. He noted that having a group of young players would actually work to their advantage, rather than hinder their chances of winning. Keshi himself promised that he would only offer positions to players based on their overall skill levels and technical ability, and would not be inviting anyone simply because they play for a prestigious club.

Tunde Folawiyo

Maigari also spoke optimistically about Nigeria’s participation in the World Cup, stating that the team would make the continent proud, and that they would show football fans that the standard of skills amongst African football teams has improved tremendously over the past couple of years.

As an Eagles’ fan, Tunde Folawiyo is most likely aware that Keshi has not released the names of his squad, but this may be because he has not yet finalised the list. After all, the players do have one more opportunity to impress him, during the upcoming friendly against Scotland. This is to be held on the 28th of May in Craven Cottage. During a press conference, Keshi said that he and the team were ready for the match, and that they were ‘delighted’ to have the chance to play against Scotland. He finished by saying that he hoped plenty of Nigerians around London would make the effort to support their national team, as this will be the final game the Eagles will play before they are sent off to Brazil.

Committee on Sports displeased with Super Eagles’ World Cup jerseys | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Fans of the Super Eagles, like Tunde Folawiyo, will probably be aware that there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the team’s jerseys for the World Cup. They were unveiled a fortnight ago by the Nigeria Football Federation; designed by Adidas, they feature three colour combinations – orange and black, green and yellow, as well as green, white and yellow. Aminu Maigari, who serves as the chairman of the NFF, explained that they had chosen these colours in order to ‘strike a balance’ between innovation and tradition.

Idris Adama, who works as the Director of Marketing at the Nigeria Football Federation, was quick to acknowledge the fact that the particular shade of green chosen for these new sets of jerseys is quite different to the shade normally worn by Nigeria’s national football players. Speaking to the press, Adama stated that the lighter and more vibrant green mirrors the youthfulness and energy of the Super Eagles.

Another official also offered his opinion on the jerseys; Gbenga Elegbeleye, the NSC’s Director General, said that Super Eagles have performed particularly well as of late, and their uniform should be rebranded to reflect this. He went on to say that he believed the jerseys would bring the players better luck on the pitch.

Tunde FolawiyoBut some were not quite so positive about the introduction of these new uniforms. Tunde Folawiyo, and others who follow this team, might know that the Committee on Sports (from the House of Representatives) has objected to the particular shade of green used; Godfrey Ali Gaiya, the chairman, argued that this colour is not the shade normally used to represent Nigeria.

Gaiya has also implied that the colour was chosen for dubious reasons; in a public statement, he contended that it bears a more than a passing resemblance to the shade used by Globacom, a large telecommunications company which sponsors the Super Eagles. Gaiya suggested that perhaps this sponsor had an unfair influence on the type of green which was selected. But the NFA’s Secretary General, Musa Amadu, has vehemently denied these accusations, saying that the colours are very different to those used by Globacom. Nevertheless, the Committee on Sports has said that it will consider carrying out an investigation into this matter.

The Pride of the Nigerian National Football Team | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, March 21st, 2014

With a rich team history dating back to 1949, the Nigeria National Football Team, – nicknamed the Super Eagles – are the 3-time Africa Cup of Nations champions, honours demonstrating the team’s vast talents in the sport of football. Inspiring millions of fans such as Tunde Folawiyo, the Super Eagles have housed some of Africa’s greatest athletes. Among their many revered accomplishments, the Super Eagles once ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings in 1994 – the highest ranking in history for an African football team – solidifying the team’s significant role in the world of African sports.

Tunde FolawiyoControlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the Nigerian National Football Team has accomplished great fetes in their 70-year team history. These various honours include, most notably, a gold medal win in the 2nd All-Africa games. The Super Eagles, formally nicknamed the Green Eagles, have twice qualified for the FIFA World Cup round of 16 and have appeared in five of the past six World Cups. With this, they became the first African football team to win gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, before going on to win the Silver Medal in Beijing.

Throughout their accomplished history in the world of football, the Super Eagles have served as home to some of football’s most respected athletic talents including Kanu Nwankwo, who – as a striker – remains one of Africa’s most decorated footballers. Kanu Nwankwo is one of few footballers to win the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal. As a two-time African Footballer of the year, Nwankwo served his team from 1994 until 2010, concluding his international career following the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. His time as captain of the Super Eagles is forever embedded in the team’s history. Amidst his athletic accomplishments with the Super Eagles, Kanu Nwankwo was diagnosed with a serious heart defect and underwent heart surgery in November of 1996. Known throughout Africa for his philanthropic work, Kanu Nwankwo founded the Kanu Heart Foundation, an organisation that helps predominantly young African children who suffer heart defects and whose work was expanded to provide aid for homeless children in 2008. He, along with other revered Nigerian players such as Patrick Olusegun Odegbami and Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha will forever be cemented in the team’s history as some of the greatest players to wear the green jersey. Through the support of fans like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout the continent and beyond, the Super Eagles will continue to showcase their immense talent to the masses.

Keshi discusses squad selection for the World Cup | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, March 7th, 2014

When asked how he thinks the Super Eagles will fare at the World Cup this year, Stephen Keshi simply stated that although he has high hopes for the team, and is optimistic about their chances of reaching the semi-finals, he intends to take it one step at a time, and for now, is only concerned with ensuring that they get past the group stage.

MTunde Folawiyoany Super Eagles’ supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, are probably beginning to wonder which players Keshi will choose for the World Cup. Whilst the coach has refused to provide any names as of yet, he has said that he will be limiting the total number of people on the squad; in a recent interview, he explained that bringing 40 men to Brazil was unnecessary, and would only serve to distract the team.

Keshi also noted that he had been monitoring the performances of his players throughout the African Nations Cup, and would be basing his final selections on how well each person played during the tournament. He remarked that he had been very impressed by how hard they had worked over the past six weeks, and that this would make it all the more difficult to choose the right members for the squad.

In a separate interview in Cape Town, just after Nigeria’s victory over Zimbabwe, Keshi stated that he would only pick a maximum of four people from the Super Eagles to join them for the World Cup, adding that those who are selected must demonstrate self-discipline, dedication and respect. He then went on to thank the Sports Ministry and the Nigeria Football Federation for their support throughout the Championship of African Nations (CHAN), and expressed his gratitude to the technical crew and backroom staff, who had worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of each match.

Although, for the most part, Keshi has remained tight-lipped about the players he intends to choose, he has publically stated that he is considering the Villareal striker, Ikechukwu Uche, for his squad. This should come as no surprise to fans such as Tunde Folawiyo, who are familiar with the Super Eagles’ previous matches, as Uche has played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s past successes, having been a part of the squad for both the 2008 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. In addition to this, he has also done well whilst playing for Villareal – during his 19 appearances for the Spanish team, he scored a total of 12 goals. Keshi has admitted that he has been following Uche’s career closely, and would be giving the striker the opportunity to try out for the squad when the time comes.

Nigeria’s World Cup plans progressing nicely | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, February 28th, 2014

As we enter 2014, and draw ever closer to the FIFA World Cup, the Super Eagles’ are readying themselves for what will be one of the most important sporting events of their careers. Those who support this team, like Tunde Folawiyo, may know that travel and accommodation arrangements have been made, and a few days ago, Adamu Emozozo  – the Eagles’ new ambassador – publically pledged his support for the team.

Emozozo expressed his confidence in the players’ abilities, and stated that he would ensure that the embassy would not interfere with the NFF’s decisions regarding any administrative or technical issues which might arise before or during the team’s time in Brazil. Responding to Emozozo’s words, Aminu Maigari, the NFF’s chairman, stated that he and his colleagues were looking forward to working alongside the ambassador.

Whilst theTunde Folawiyo NFF appear to be very well organised in regards to the logistics, there are still many questions surrounding how the team will actually fare at this tournament. Judging by his recent conversations with the press, Stephen Keshi, the team’s coach, is well aware of just how crucial the next five months will be for the team, and has been going to great lengths to physically and mentally prepare the players for the tournament.

His overall outlook appears to be quite optimistic; he has stated that he sees no reason why they should not reach the semi-finals. He has also said that he intends to make sure all of the chosen players remain in the best possible condition in the run up to their first World Cup match, adding that he would be using the players’ performances at CHAN to determine which ones he should include in the final squad in June. As a fan of this team, Tunde Folawiyo is probably quite eager to find out which players have been chosen.

Keshi has yet to provide supporters with any clues as to whom he might select; however, sports commentators have speculated that Shola Ameobi and Sone Aluko are potential candidates. Keshi has made no secret of his admiration for Ameobi’s skills on the pitch, and despite the controversy surrounding this player’s absence from the CHAN tournament, it is possible that the striker’s impressive performance during the recent match against Italy may renew the coach’s faith in him. Aluko has also been absent from the Eagles’ training sessions and matches, due to a persistent problem with his Achilles tendon, but many people still believe that he has a chance of being in the final squad, provided he regains his previous levels of fitness.